Two-screen 16mm film installation by Kevin Jerome Everson documents the waxing and waning of the moon. || On view now through October 4 at the Grunwald Gallery of Art, Fine Arts Building 123, 1201 E. Seventh Street, Bloomington, IN || Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12 to 4PM.
The Grunwald Gallery of Art and the Black Film Center/Archive are pleased to present Rough and Unequal, an installation of a dual projection 16mm film by Kevin Jerome Everson. Using an Arri 16mm camera attached to a telescope, Everson filmed the waxing and waning of the moon from the Leander McCormick Observatory, located on the University of Virginia Grounds, a historical site established in 1883.
Playing on a continuous loop, the films are being projected on facing walls using two single-reel platter systems in the Grunwald Gallery. Rough and Unequal serves as the centerpiece for our September 27 (12:00-2:00PM) symposium featuring the artist in conversation with Terri Francis, Ross Gay, Joan Hawkins, Carmel Curtis and special guest Kelli Morgan, Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields Associate Curator of American Art.
The exhibition and symposium are made possible by New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities and the College Arts and Humanities Institute at Indiana University. Special thanks to Madeleine Molyneaux—Picture Palace Pictures, Ian Burnley and Betsy Stirratt.
About the art: This installation expands the Black Film Center/Archive’s ongoing exploration of “the avant-garde” in Black film. Informed by conceptual art and realism, Everson’s work in moving images involves abstraction and reflexivity. The screening of Rough and Unequal in an art gallery setting departs from theatrical screenings, in that the viewer experiences the room, either standing or seated, as well as the images, at varying distances, chosen by the viewer.
The presentation of the installation in this setting, where the public will be able to revisit it, allows the viewing experience to unfold over time. Although the 16mm films run only 11 minutes in duration it may take longer for viewers to adjust their eyes to the room’s darkness. Placing Everson’s film in an art gallery context draws attention to the subtle formal aspects of the film material and of the moon’s surface and curvature. The gallery context emphasizes the connection to visual art, to the process of making art, and both the position and participation of the viewer.
Rough and Unequal consists of two films each projected from 16mm single-reel platter systems, created especially for this exhibition. Yet, the films can, in a sense, be experienced and taken in as one single film that is shown on two screens simultaneously. The projectors are part of the installation, meant to be seen and heard.
Visitors to Rough and Unequal should allow time for the eyes to adjust to the darkness, as the images appear more luminous over time.
About the artist: Kevin Jerome Everson (b. 1965) works in film, painting, sculpture, and photography. He is known for his filmic fables that articulate the profound within the ordinariness of everyday life. Everson, who was born in the working-class community of Mansfield, Ohio, depicts details in the lives of people living and working in similar American communities: a mechanic repairing an old car in a backyard, a black beauty queen in a segregated pageant, men boxing, snowplow operators in winter, young men walking into a courtroom, the aftermath of a murder.
Some of Everson’s films are constructed from appropriated news and film footage, uncovering forgotten details of African- American life in the 1960s and 70s. In other films, the artist explores the waxing and waning of a community’s sense of itself and the migration of black people from the South to the North in order to find work. Everson, whose work was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, approaches race, sexuality, and economic circumstances with a poetic yet unflinching eye. Adopting the stance of an observer, his interest in labor has both a political and a formal aspect, exploring the relationship between the human body and the materiality of the labor it performs as both an expression of class and identity, and as a performative gesture.
With a sense of place, drawing on historical research, Everson’s films, which number 160, including 9 features, combine scripted and documentary moments with rich elements of formalism. The subject matter is the gestures or tasks caused by certain conditions in the lives of working class African Americans and other people of African descent. The conditions are usually physical, social-economic circumstances or the weather. Instead of standard realism he favors a strategy that abstracts everyday actions and statements into theatrical gestures, in which archival footage is re-edited or re-staged, real people perform fictional scenarios based on their own lives and historical observations intermesh with contemporary narratives. The films suggest the relentlessness of everyday life—along with its beauty—but also present oblique metaphors for art-making.
Everson received the 2012 Alpert Award for Film/Video. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim, NEA, NEH, Ohio Arts Council, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, an American Academy Rome Prize, grants from the Wexner Center for the Arts, Creative Capital and the Mid-Atlantic, residencies at Mobile Frames / Media City Film Festival (Windsor/Detroit), Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Yaddo and MacDowell Colony, and numerous university fellowships.
Rough and Unequal Symposium Schedule
All events are free and open to the public.
Friday, September 27
12:00–2:00pm: Lunch roundtable discussion led by Kevin Everson with participation by Kelli Morgan, Terri Francis, Carmel Curtis, Ross Gay, and Joan Hawkins. Located in the Grunwald Gallery.
5:00–6:00pm: Public conversation with Kevin Everson and Terri Francis. Located in Fine Arts 015.
6:00–7:30pm: Opening reception. Located in the Grunwald Gallery.
Saturday, September 28
2:00–4:00pm: “Form and Place” screening of Kevin Everson films followed by conversation with Ross Gay. Located in the IU Libraries Moving Image Archives Screening Room, Wells Library, LI 048.
Rough and Unequal Installation: Two-screen 16mm film installation by Kevin Jerome Everson documents the waxing and waning of the moon. || On view now through October 4 at the Grunwald Gallery of Art, Fine Arts Building 123, 1201 E. Seventh Street, Bloomington, IN || Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12 to 4PM.